Monday, April 06, 2009

Minority Voters and What Republicans Maybe Don't Get

By Richard Ivory

The below is an interesting article found on the Rebuild The Party website written by a Jeff Swanson from Marengo, IL. Although I personally disagree with some of Jeff's conclusions in the article it is never the less an interesting take on the mood of the Republican Party as it relates to minority outreach. The article tries to go into great detail explaining where we have gone wrong and offers suggestions on setting a new tone. The article also tries to encourage the party to do more specifically in the area of resources and message branding.

Also for an equally interesting article that claims the GOP has done more than enough with regards minorities check out Jack Kerwick's articles on race. Jack is an adjunct philosophy professor and writes about race and philosophy over at .

His recent article entitled Republicans and "Outreach" argues that "not only haven't Republicans "ignored" racial minorities, they have been hyper-focused on "reaching out" to them". Of course I disagree with 90% of his article but its an interesting read to say the least. He also has a piece out colorfully entitled Requiem for a Word — Racism, where he tries to argue that the term "racism" should be retired.

Minority Voters and What Republicans Maybe Don't Get

By Jeff Swanson

I'm about as 'un-minority' as you can get. I’m parts Swedish, Norwegian and a little German. So, to read forth, you probably should know that I have no idea what I'm talking about with regard to minority voters. That might be the point, though. It appears that the Republican Party, conservatives et al, just don't get what's going on with minorities.

I'd assert that it's probably because we aren't listening.To context what I'm going to say hence, I need to summarize what Republicans do think: This is not a bad thing but Republicans tend to believe that you pull yourself up by your bootstraps. We believe that the way to make it in the world today is by making it on your own. We believe in traditional values with God and love of country at the forefront. We see the value in fiscal responsibility.In my little myopic worldview, pretty much every minority I've met fits the above description and I think even more so than I do.

The only difference is that most aren't Republican.I think I'm about to tell Houston that we have a problem. Let me be clear, we have a problem.I think another key to what Republicans seem to think is that if you see value in us, you are more than welcome to join us. The door is open. That's all well and good but fails as a Marketing 101 strategy. It appears that we think the world should fall at our feet because our ideas are so superior. It doesn't work that way.Herein lies the key to my point, Republicans haven't bothered to court minorities pretty much at all. Do you recall in 2007 a few Presidential Candidate Forums hosted by Tavis Smiley?

Remember that none of the frontrunner's showed with the sad excuse that they had 'other commitments'? Anyone recollect that?I know I can't speak on behalf of minorities but I do think that such a thing would really taint my judgment when voting.

Think about this: The candidates couldn't be bothered with rearranging schedules to go to a widely publicized forum dedicated to a big block of voters. That's a colossal slap in the face. Not only would I probably not vote for you, I'd probably start talkin' smack too.So, you get that my point is we haven't really courted this voting block. I hear us say all the time that we should be more recognized for one of our party's earliest Presidents, Lincoln, abolishing slavery.

I hear about our key and exceeding against Democrats support of Civil Rights. Heck, I even hear us mutter that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a Republican. It's nifty that we tell each other this stuff. Who else knows it?What we fail to do is take on the very rewarding task of getting in the trenches and spending quality time with this key block of voters, they are represented not only by African Americans but Asian, Hispanic and a host of other wonderful groups.

All with strong traditional values. Yet we spend no time courting.As was said often in the last election, it is already a write off as a voting block; we are only wasting money on a group that historically in recent years did not vote Republican. That is our failure. Largely we think it is a failing strategy to spend any time or money seeking their vote.We need not to care if this is done at a loss of time and money. That is short-term thinking. Otherwise that thinking sends exactly the kind of signal claimed of us, that we don't care about minorities.

Our actions speak for our attitude. That we think a loss of contributions is too great a price to pay for only incremental gains in this voter block certainly tells me that we don't care enough to invest in this group.If there is validity to the axiom that you should put your money where your mouth is, our mouths are full on shut like a child in front of a full plate of broccoli.

It's simple logic, if we don't spend any time money and effort on this group, we get the results we see every election. We think that it somehow is driven by policy but I assert when you look at these groups core values, it is less about these values that drives them away from Republicanism but more so our abject failure to recognize the value of the group by simply having a willingness to do what is done for all other groups of political interest, spend a little and talk. Make the conversation a priority.To that end, we aren't even close. What do I know. Remember that I have no idea what I'm talking about.

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1 comment:

Amy said...

Thanks for posting this discussion from RTP. I believe that we must reach into the minority community and show them the conservative message and help to de-bunk the notion that conservatives are a bunch of rich white guys and racists. We are not. We are people concerned with individual freedom, prosperity for all, and adherence to the concept of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.